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Bill Would Ban Anonymous Online Comments

Legislation would require New York-based websites to take down posts by unidentified commenters.

Anonymous online postings are the subject of a pair of bills before the New York state legislature, according to a report in the Huffington Post.

The bills, known as the Internet Protection Act, would require New York-based web administrators to remove comments made by anonymous posters, unless the poster agreed to attach their real names.

It defines an anonymous poster as: "… any individual who posts a message on a web site including social networks, blogs forums, message boards or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages."

It's long been a sore point for Internet users. While anonymity grants security to those with unpopular viewpoints, it also holds the door open for harrassment, online bullying, and derailing civil discussion through "trolling."

Patch's policy of allowing anonymous comments has given some readers the freedom to discuss sensitive subject, but it has caused some issues among posters .

State Senator Thomas O’Mara, a sponsor of the bill, was quoted in Wired as saying it would bring accountability to the Internet.

So what do you think? Is this a reasonable next step in making the Internet a safer and more civil medium of communication? Or is it an infringement of freedom of speech? Let us know in the following poll, and share your thoughts in the comments — anonymously, if you so choose.

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